MOZAMBAZAR is the prequel to MOZAMBEACH, by Mirko Pirozzi, which we reviewed a few months ago. Much like it’s successor, the album uses real live musicians, like Nir Shahal: flute, Elan Noelle: vocals, Gianfranco Notari: guitar solo on tracks 9-10, Nate Madsen: sax, Jason Meekins: drums and Pirozzi himself on piano, synthesizers, guitars and bass.
The album walks the alternative art and progressive rock tightrope with some symphonic and soul influences thrown into the musical potpourri. Mirko Pirozzi has mastered the art of blurring the lines between genres. The album MOZAMBAZAR further develops the unlikely combination of progressive rock’s heavy guitar crunch with the warm passion of Nate Madsen’s saxophone, always retaining that vintage psychedelic and effects-driven ambience.
Combining a trance-like atmosphere with pounding guitar riffs, whirling flutes and synthesizers is a daunting task if you think about it. Yet Mirko Pirozzi has managed to perfect a remarkably organic sound that the band executes almost effortlessly. Most hyper-progressive bands cram as much musical firepower as they can into every song to the point that it makes your head ache. Pirozzi keeps every element in check and makes MOZAMBAZAR come alive with melody.
Once again, Pirozzi and friends combine crazy instrumental skills with intricate, unpredictable songwriting and emotional drumming of Jason Meekins, who comes shining through with power and polish on this album. Containing 14 tracks, MOZAMBAZAR has plenty of goodies to offer the discerning listener, as it cycles through a vast mix of sounds-ranging from the dark, dense, and metallic to the spacey and Floydian to the melodic and folky-often within the space of a single song.
For the most part, this album is divided between multifaceted epics, such as “Sushi to Everest”, “Junkies on Street” and “Romans” and sharper, sweeter tunes marked by surprisingly infectious melodies like “Never Call Me”, “All in All” and “Razzle Dazzle”. Naturally, this being Mirko Pirozzi, things aren’t that simple, as there are plenty of variations on the theme to be found as well: hypnotic keyboard textures drift in and out of the slow to mid-tempo, riff-driven gallop of the “Crusader”; the angry, assaultive guitar crunch of “Bewildered” segues without warning into a disarmingly pretty melody of “Obviously”, ending on a languid, mellow note.
As on his successive album, perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Pirozzi’s approach is his restraint: unlike certain other bands in the oft-derided progressive art-rock genre, nothing about Mirko Pirozzi’s songs ever sounds forced or pretentious, even when he flirts with symphonic stuff. On MOZAMBAZAR, you can fully appreciate the fact that it is an extremely arty, well-crafted, multi-faceted, surprisingly disciplined, complexly written, and flawlessly-performed affair.